award winning media midwife + artist + producer + professor
We are EVERYTHING
My hardcopy journal is with me, almost always. I have written in a journal everyday since 1994, when I first moved to New York City and realized writing can be a lifeline to capture fascinating moments, experiences and thoughts that make up what was and is a life. Sometimes I write an obscene amount in a day, sometimes just a few words, but somehow the digital medium hasn't gripped me with quite the same obsession. Perhaps it's because I love the private, creative expression of hand meets pen on paper as a brain/soul repository. Also, I don't need the Internet to know THAT much, but just enough, which is why I restrain my expressions and save them for the ceiling high stacks of filled pages kept in my closet. The overwhelming vortex of unedited digital information in this age of TMI is interesting to ponder as it relates to how we edit our lives and share what we choose. That's not how real life works, at least not with intimate, honest relationships where we are fully seen in ALL of our beauty and all of our challenges, and everything in between.
Humans can project a point of view or an insight through digital life, which can be authentic for what it is, yet unable to encapsulate all dimensions and depths of nuance in that same moment. I say this because we see what we choose to see, we say and write what we choose to say and write, we edit ourselves. I once asked a very wise woman, "How are you doing?" She replied, with a weathered smile, "I am EVERYTHING." She was being completely edited and honest in one word. She was feeling the full spectrum of her life in that one word, which leads me to a recent experience.
During Yom Kippur this year there was a captivating contemplative service in which participants actually imagined the moment just before death. How did it feel? How relaxed were we able to be with the most natural of processes? One of the spiritual leaders in the service, Dr. Ibrahim Farajaje, invited us to consider the idea that because birthing women today are more connected with what is actually happening inside their bodies during pregnancy and birth, we are also able to bring the same awareness and connectedness to the experience of dying. While doing this exercise, I thought of that moment of being everything, being at one with all that is, being a part of something so much bigger than self yet knowing, that with personal struggles and blind spots I'm working hard to overcome, I'm really doing my very best to stay open to life.
While dying at home in bed, I smiled with the closest people in my life surrounding, some reading passages from my journals and some holding my body, as it passed into the unseen realms of existence. I hope to have this chance to live and love and grow and forgive myself, most importantly, so I can someday die just like that, in peace, whenever, however that may be.
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